208 ALONG THE PERSIAN GULF COAST [Chap. VII
irregular distribution of their groups, a survey on a much larger scale than the available time permitted would have been needed to indicate their position in accurate detail. But reference to Plan 17 and the panoramic view will show that the necropolis extends over a great portion of the slopes from above the bottom of the valley to an elevatiôn approaching to close on 300 feet. The steep riblike spurs which descend the slopes and separate their eroded ravines seem to have been specially chosen for the allocation of irregular rows of graves; perhaps, because the rock surface exposed there facilitated cutting or because the position afforded protection against the risk of graves being washed out by heavy rain. It is a natural consequence of the narrow space available along such spurs that the alinement of the graves should vary greatly, as clearly shown by the photographs.
A different aspect is presented by the western portion of the necropolis where, as shown by Plan 17, gentler slopes, with the rock surface laid bare by erosion, afforded convenient room for a large number of graves being grouped in closely serried rows in regular cemeteries. The photographs reproduced in Figs. 71, 73 show the two most striking of such cemeteries, marked A in the plan. They stretch up on either side of a deeply eroded ravine at the mouth of which lies a modest ziczrat surrounded by modern graves. Broad stairways cut into the rock lead up to and through the systematically laid-out graveyard on the western side of the ravine and are seen in Fig. 71. Short stretches of stairs on the eastern side of the ravine could also be traced, though less clearly, to facilitate access to the graveyard. Three flights of such stairs were observed also in the area farther to the east, less closely covered with graves, of which a portion is seen in Fig. 73.
Though, as already noted, considerable deviations from the orthodox north to south direction occur in many graves, yet there can be no doubt that the vast majority of them were intended for the last rest of the Faithful. But the fact that in the eastern graveyard the graves without exception are all regularly alined
west to east was bound to attract attention. I counted there altogether some 375. A considerable number of them were found quite empty; others were
filled right up to the rim with earth and pebbles, probably washed down from
above. Only over comparatively few there lay broken pieces of sandstone, obviously remains of covering slabs. All graves examined had a groove or rim
at the top cut into the rock on each of the longer sides, meant to hold such slabs. The walls of sandstone, a kind of soft conglomerate, dividing the graves were only 4 to 5 inches thick, while any small spaces left here and there between the closely arrayed graves had evidently been utilized for graves to bury children in.
The whole arrangement showed that the area had been systematically laid out under one direction, and with special regard to economy, but not necessarily at